Cashless Pioneers: Every Transaction Has a Story
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Promoting Dignity by Example: Financial Inclusion of the Underserved Must Start at Home

This Wednesday in Atlanta, Operation Hope and an esteemed group of financial leaders and thinkers who collaborate with us to support dignity through economic empowerment and financial literacy, gathered to celebrate the HOPE Global Financial Dignity Summit and the grand opening of Operation HOPE’s Financial Dignity Center at the Martin L. King Sr. Community Resource Complex at Ebenezer.  This marks a great step toward advancing our mission to combat financial illiteracy and promote the inclusion of the more than 88 million underserved Americans.

At Operation Hope, we consider financial inclusion through literacy and economic empowerment an intrinsic right of every American. Building strong partnerships with private and public sectors is essential to achieving our goals and it is why last year we partnered with MasterCard to collaborate with us in the creation of programs to educate and empower through financial literacy. MasterCard works with governments, financial institutions and merchants to develop electronic payment alternatives to cash and check based programs.  A great example is the  work done with the South African Social Security Agency (“SASSA”) to distribute 10 million debit cards to social grant recipients across the country.

I feel strongly, that the exclusion of the underserved from access to traditional banking services and the limitations inherent in that exclusion, impacts every family and community in America. We cannot be a nation that leads the world, when there is ignorance about the limitation to progress of so many of our own.  In fact, a recent MasterCard survey showed that two thirds of the 1000 respondents were not aware that almost twice as many Americans are excluded from financial services than those without health insurance.  We all have to get involved in demanding reform in public policy and in promoting the inclusion of the underserved.

With partners like MasterCard who connect to our mission to bring financial education to low income communities in the US, we will realize our goal to improve the economic activity of the disenfranchised across our nation.  What about you?  Are you on board to help the underserved achieve financial inclusion, and perhaps just as important the dignity and hope they deserve for a better future?